Monday, June 2, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Lalla ‘worked’ for Cong leaders also
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 1
Even as the district police is concentrating on the involvement of senior BJP leader Sat Pal Gosain in the alleged criminal activities of Anil Kumar, alias Lalla, against whom 20 cases have been registered so far, there are reports that Lalla was working for some Congress ministers and leaders as well.

The police is yet to investigate this angle. The Gosain issue has already taken a political colour. Mr Surinder Dawar, a sitting Congress MLA, released Gosain’s pictures with Lalla and presented before mediapersons an NRI, who was allegedly duped by Mr Gosain. The BJP leader issued a denial last evening.

Sources reveal, that the Gosain issue and his alleged relationship with Lalla is just the tip of the iceberg.

The sources revealed that Lalla had been working for a senior Congress leader of Jalandhar for several years. He had been actively campaigning for a Congress leader in Ludhiana also during the last state Legislative Assembly election.

Police officials carrying out the interrogation of Lalla are tight-lipped about his relationship with the Congress leaders.

It is learnt that Lalla remained at the beck and call of these leaders. It is not a big deal for politicians to keep such persons. It is considered a routine thing for politicians to have goons, who help their supporters when the law of the land is not on their side.

Lalla came into limelight in the city when he monopolised the illegal transport business in the city. Though some Akali supporters were already running buses on major routes, Lalla slowly gained huge share in the illegal plying of buses, thanks to his political masters.

Several of his buses also plied on long routes during night, it is alleged. These operated from the Bhadaur House market.

Mr Gosain’s alleged relationship with Lalla came to light during the tenure of the previous government. He allegedly recommended to a senior police officer the issuance of an arms licence to Lalla, but the officer refused to buckle under pressure. Both had a bitter argument over the issue.

Mr Gosain has refuted the allegation. He admits that Lalla worked with him for two weeks or so a couple of years ago but when he learnt about his activities, he threw him out.

Lalla is wanted in about 20 cases.


’84 victims leave for ‘immolation mission’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 1
More than 18 years after they were rendered homeless, the 1984 riot victims were once again being forced to leave their homes. It was the 1984 riots at that time and now it was the decision of the Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA), to allot their houses to general public.

These victims had “decided to immolate themselves against the “cruel” decision of the PUDA authorities that would make them homeless once again.

Hundreds of ’84 victims’ living in local Danga Peerat Colony, today left for Amritsar to pray for the 51 women, who had volunteered to immolate themselves outside the residence of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, on June 3. Heart-rending scenes were witnessed at the site today.

“We are not doing it happily or to gain political mileage out of it. Our children also feel for us like other children. They are pleading us not to go. But somebody will have to take the lead to make the lives of thousands of people like us comfortable. Don’t we have a right to have shelter ? We are ready to pay whatever they want. This government only wants to render us homeless once again as if it was not enough for us,” rued Bibi Gurdeep Kaur, a mother of four children, who were visibly upset at her decision.

The victims would reach the Golden Temple at Amritsar tomorrow. They would make stops at Phagwara, Jalandhar and other cities on the way to take other such victims along. “The fate of these women would be decided through a draw of lots. Only five of them would be allowed to set themselves on fire. As everybody wanted to go ahead, we decided to arrange for a draw of lots. Who-so-ever will be chosen will go ahead for the mission,” said Mr Surjit Singh Saluja, president of the Danga Peerat Society, Dugri.

These 51 women, coming from all parts of the state, who had volunteered themselves for the cause, were given siropas at a local gurdwara in Dugri in the morning today before leaving for Amritsar. Emotional scenes were witnessed at the gurdwara when the children were meeting their mothers, who had volunteered themselves for the self immolation.

Mata Harbans Kaur, an 80-year-old-victim, the oldest among them, had lost her husband, son and son-in-law in the riots in 1984 at Delhi.

She came to Ludhiana and was promised a house by the then Governor of Punjab. She and her widowed daughter were given a house in the CRPF Colony.

“I had become homeless at that time. I started from a zero and somehow managed to keep myself and my daughter alive. Again they want to make us homeless. It is better to be a martyr ourselves. Maybe after our sacrifice they will understand the gravity of situation,” said Mata Harbans Kaur.

The riot victims had been living in these houses belonging to PUDA for the past more than 18 years. The PUDA had recently advertised that the houses, which were reserved for the victims, would be allotted to general public. The affected families had been eagerly awaiting the promised allotment of 929 houses, 100 shops, 500 ration depots besides compensation and proper employment opportunities, but the decision of PUDA had dashed all their hopes to the ground.


Fire Dept seeks payment from Railways
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 1
The Ludhiana Fire Department has issued a notice to the Northern Railway and Executive Officer, Mullanpur Municipal Council, regarding the work done by its fire tenders in the Golden Temple train fire incident and the MiG crash incident.

The Fire Department has demanded a payment of Rs 7800 from the Railways and about Rs 5000 from the Mullanpur council under a controversial state government order empowering the department to charge a fee of Rs 300 per fire tender for each hour of work.

The order had come for severe criticism from the rural sector. People living outside the municipal area of the city were supposed to pay money to the Fire Department for taking its services. This had caused quite heartburn among farmers and other ruralites.

Sources said the department charged the MC of the respective area if the fire incident took place in its limits. In the case of MiG crash in Mullanpur, the MC of that town had been told to pay the amount. The Railways had been told to pay as the fire took place in the train which was Railways property.

Sources said the Rs 300 payment came into being during the tenure of SAD-BJP government.

The rule came under criticism three days ago also when fire broke into a market at Mullanpur. The Fire officers had refused to send help until someone took responsibility of paying the money. The fire tenders came almost one-and-a-half-hour after the fire broke out.

Interestingly, as it was clear from the Fire Department’s notice to the Mullanpur MC regarding the MiG crash, the market fire also fell in the municipal limits and there was no need for the fire officers to demand Rs 300 from the shopkeepers.


Decision on Bhullar kept pending: IHRO chief
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 1
‘‘Even after the Union Ministry of Law and Justice had informed the International Human Rights Organisation that it had directed the Department of Justice to take necessary action at the earliest on the representation received from the chairperson, IHRO, and co-ordinator of the Professor Devinderpal Singh Bhullar Defence Committee, for remission of the death sentence of the professor, a decision in the case is being kept pending.’’

This was stated today by Mr D.S. Gill, chairperson, IHRO, who claimed that a letter in this regard was sent to the IHRO. However, the Law and Justice Minister, Mr Arun Jaitley, had silently passed a message a few days ago that the case of Professor Bhullar would be kept pending for some time, to Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra who, along with Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, had met him and Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani in this regard on behalf of the committee. Stating that it was intriguing, Mr Gill, in a statement here today, condemned the amnesty granted by the West Bengal Governor to the Punjab cops who were undergoing life sentence for the cold-blooded murders of Bashir Ahmed and his wife from Punjab in the Tiljala case there.

‘‘Probably, the BJP leadership is eagerly waiting for the Akalis to unite before taking any positive decision on the fate of Professor Bhullar. His wife from Canada and old mother are going through a period of distress and agony, ’’ said Mr Gill.

He said the committee, after leading a big protest march and a rally in New Delhi on March 30 and submitting a representation to the President regarding granting mercy to Professor Bhullar, had written to the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Law Minister, asking them to apprise the President of the gravity of the situation and the expectations of the Sikh community from him.

Responding to this correspondence, the Deputy Secretary, Department of Justice, was directed on April 23 to take appropriate action at the earliest and that the petitioner might suitably be informed thereafter.

“If the SAD, or after unity the united Akali Dal, is not able to get the case of Professor Bhullar cleared within one month from now, we will call a meeting of the committee and ask the SAD to come out of the NDA alliance and have no truck with the alliance which does not respect the aspirations of the community, that too for an innocent person like Professor Bhullar,” Mr Gill said.

Meanwhile, the IHRO Core Group, at a meeting here today, appreciated Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor S.S. Boparai for offering education free of cost to the two brave girls from Anandpur Sahib who dared to fight against policemen to protect their honour, showing the way to all women who face sexual harassment, according to Mr Mohinder Singh Grewal, general secretary of the IHRO.

Mr Boparai, he said, was highly appreciated at the meeting for calling upon educational institutions to realise their responsibility in view of such situations.


BJP alleges Cong-police nexus
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 1
Countering the Congress offensive, the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) today alleged that a “Congress-criminal-police” nexus existed in Ludhiana and all three seemed to be acting in unison to tarnish the image of the BJP.

The BJP spokesman, Mr Rajinder Khatri, said here today that the way police organised a press conference of a dreaded criminal, who was in police remand, at which he was made to level allegations against a senior BJP leader only showed how deep-rooted was the nexus between the three.

He pointed out, that this was for the first time in the history of India that a criminal in police remand was made to address a press conference from a government hospital. The BJP spokesman said the Congress was acting at the behest of the police. He also said the way Youth Congress activists were trying to stage demonstrations against Mr Gosain under police protection proved their nexus.

Meanwhile, a number of women activists today staged a demonstration against the Congress for its “vicious and malicious” campaign against Mr Gosain. The protesting women claimed that they did not belong to any political party and were residents of Kidwai Nagar and neighbours of Mr Gosain. They said the Congress was using dirty methods to malign the image of a senior BJP leader who enjoyed a good reputation.


Seminar on leadership
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 1
A seminar on leadership was organised by Rotaract District 3070 at Rotary Bhavan today in which 73 delegates from different Rotaract clubs of Punjab, Himachal Pardesh and Jammu and Kashmir participated.

The seminar was inaugurated by Dr Dushyant Chaudhary, District Rotaract representative. The keynote address — “Crisp tips to club leaders” — was delivered by former District Governor and Rotarian Arun Jain. District Rotaract (Elect) Rajat Deep Kaur announced the Rotaract theme — “Join Hands” — 2003-04.

Rajat Deep appealed to Rotaracts to join hands with youths to serve society.

A talk on “Effective public relations” was delivered by Rotarian Atam Jit Singh. He appreciated the role of the media in highlighting daily happenings. He appealed to the Rotaractors to join hands with the media to make a healthy and corruption, free, self-dependent India.

The seminar counsellor and former District Governor, Rotarian Suresh Chaudhary, stressed the need for effective Rotary-Rotaract coordination. Rotarian Rupesh Saddi spoke on “Be an effective Rotaractor”. Another Rotarian Capt Vipin Sharma, spoke on “Membership development and growth.” A Rotarian and district secretary (Elect), Dr Naresh Sud, also spoke. Project Director Sukhpal Singh and Prabhdeep Singh thanked the participants.


Mango feast

Ludhiana, June 1
The sweet notes of the cuckoo herald the mango season. Mango, the king of fruits, comes in hundreds of varieties. To give people a taste of mangoes, Majestic Park Plaza is organising an exclusive Majestic Mango Feast from June 1 to June 30 in all their restaurants.

“Mangoes can make people feel better. They contain an enzyme with stomach-soothing properties. Mangoes are also rich in fibre,” said Chef Saddanshu of Park Plaza. OC


Industry rues 10 pc TCS on scrap
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 1
Various trade and industrial associations have criticised the union government’s decision to impose the provision of TCS (tax collection at source) on scrap.

Under this provision, 10 per cent TCS will be collected from all buyers from June 1.

The provision introduced in this year’s budget has shaken the scrap dealers in the city who fear that this might ruin them as it is not possible for them to pay 10 per cent tax at source. Opposing the provision, the Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry president, Mr P.D. Sharma, said “the industry cannot run without the sale and purchase of scrap. Each transaction is generally very high valued and 10 per cent TCS will amount to several thousand rupees in each case”.

The worst hit would be the iron and steel sector which depends heavily on scrap as major input. Every steel-based industry has to dispose off scrap in huge quantities. Similarly in the hosiery sector, waste played a vital role and transactions were quite high, Mr Sharma pointed out.

In a separate statement, the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertaking (CICU) also criticised the move, saying it would inflict a heavy damage on the engineering industry. The president of the CICU, Mr Inderjit Singh Pradhan, and the general secretary, Mr Avtar Singh, said 10 per cent TCS would disturb the entire industry. They demanded that since scrap was exempted from central excise duty, its sale should also remain exempted from income tax.

The CICU demanded that this provision should be reviewed and scrap should be omitted from the list of specified goods for the purpose of the TCS as unnecessary harassment was caused by certain provisions of the TDS.

Ludhiana Motor Parts Manufacturers Association general secretary Charan Singh Kohli said the scrap buyers would be subjected to undue harassment. Moreover, he pointed out, the scrap dealers did not have much finances at their disposal and the 10 per cent TCS would ultimately make them bankrupt.


Electroplaters meet Commerce Secy
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 1
A deputation of the Ludhiana Electroplaters Association led by its president, Mr Joginder Kumar, met the Principal Secretary, Industry and Commerce, Mr S.C. Aggarwal and apprised him of various problems being faced by them. It also hailed his appointment to the post, saying that given his experience he would be able to understand the problems of the industry.

Mr Joginder Kumar apprehended that the industry might be uprooted following the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to shift. He pointed out the case of Delhi, where the industry got uprooted due to shifting. He said the government had agreed to allot them 8 acres of land in September, 2002 but nothing had been done so far.

Mr Aggarwal gave an assurance to the delegation that he would take all necessary measures.

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